While researching for my blog post on how spices cut triglyceride levels, I learned something amazing: I assumed that in India, where people eat a diet high in anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and ginger, that diabetes levels would be low. Instead I found the exact opposite: that diabetes is the highest in the world.
Here’s why: The body adapts to starvation in-vitro. Ironically, in the last few years, the economic growth in India has propelled people into the middle class. All of a sudden, they have access to an abundance of sugary and high fat (fried) foods and have become more sedentary, which is the perfect breeding ground for diabetes and other diseases.
According to David Barker, a British doctor whose research has helped explain the origins of so-called lifestyle ailments and why they’re exploding in India and China, “An undernourished fetus prioritizes sugar for its growing brain. To make more glucose available in the blood, the fetus stores less of the energy in its muscles by making the muscles resistant to the effects of insulin. What starts as a clever survival trick in the womb becomes a liability in later life. When food is freely available but the muscles can’t store excess glucose, the blood floods with sugar and diabetes develops. Too much sugar in the blood damages the heart, small blood vessels and nerves, compounding the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.”
Fortunately, Americans do not face such abject poverty as people do in India, but this is an extremely important lesson that what we feed our children sets a foundation for their health for the rest of their lives.